Sports

Gay NFL draftee becomes sacred cow [With Comments By John]

Featured image I wrote here about the selection by the St. Louis Rams of Michael Sam, an openly gay football player. The selection brought widespread praise including, predictably enough, from President Obama. But at least one football player, Don Jones of the Miami Dolphins, reacted negatively — probably not to the selection itself, but rather to the exuberant kisses on the lips that Sam exchanged with his boyfriend while the cameras were »

St. Louis Rams draft “openly gay” Michael Sam

Featured image Michael Sam, a college football star who announced a some months ago that he is gay, was selected at the end of today’s NFL draft by the St. Louis Rams. I saw Sam play a few times this past season. To me, he looked considerably better than a “supplemental” pick in the final round. Moreover, he was defensive player of the year in the SEC, college football’s premier conference. However, »

Who was that cranky old man and why did he ice Kevin Durant?

Featured image With 27 seconds left in the crucial Game Five of an incredibly hard-fought NBA playoff series, the score was Memphis 100, Oklahoma City 99. OKC’s Kevin Durant, who shoots 87 percent from the foul line, had just hit his first free throw. The ball had been returned to Durant for his second, potentially game-tying shot and he was beginning his foul shooting ritual. Suddenly, an old, bald, loud-mouth guy rushed »

NBA grandstands; Sterling is punished

Featured image Adam Silver, the new commissioner of the NBA, has banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling from the league for life and fined him $2.5 million. Under the ban, Sterling will not be allowed to attend games or practices or make decisions about the team he owns. It is not yet clear whether the NBA will force him to sell the Clippers. I find myself agreeing with Bill Maher, who »

UNC fake-classes whistleblower resigns after meeting with Carol Folt

Featured image Two years ago, I wrote about academic fraud involving the department of African and Afro-American Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. The fraud extended to more than 50 different classes. It ranged from no-show professors to unauthorized grade changes for students. Many of the students who took the bogus courses were members of the football or basketball team. Seeking to protect the image of its lucrative athletic »

A Sunday sports trifecta

Featured image As John can attest, I’ve been supporting mostly bad sports teams for more than half a century. Thus, it’s a rare occasion when three of my teams win important victories on the same day. But that’s what happened yesterday. Until yesterday, Everton had not won both of its matches against Manchester United since the 1969-70 season and had not finished ahead of the Red Devils since 1990. Those streaks ended »

Goose, Sky, and Monster Mash — All-time Kentucky basketball greats

Featured image No college basketball program has a richer history than the University of Kentucky’s. It’s all there: the good (eight national championships); the bad (a major point shaving scandal); and the ugly (the racism, albeit arguably overstated, of legendary coach Adolph Rupp). Selecting all-stars from a program that has been so dominant over such a long period of time raises special difficulties. Prolific scorers from bygone eras can’t easily be shunted »

Mek, Rip, and Corny — All-time Connecticut basketball greats

Featured image It happens that three of the Final Four this year — Wisconsin, Kentucky, and Connecticut — were teams that Maryland defeated on its way to the Final Four during the Championship run of 2002. The Connecticut game was the Terps most difficult game of the tournament and, in my view, one of the most fiercely contested, best played NCAA games ever. The competitiveness of the game was a tribute to »

This week in Redskins history — Sonny Jurgensen and DeSean Jackson

Featured image On March 31, 1964, the Washington Redskins acquired quarterback Sonny Jurgensen from the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for quarterback Norm Snead. The Eagles threw in linebacker/defensive back Jimmy Carr; the Redskins threw in cornerback Claude Crabb whom Jurgensen and other good NFL quarterbacks torched pretty regularly. (Crabb, though, became a good special teams player). I still remember where I was when I heard the news on the radio — in »

Alando, Michael, and Little Stretch — all-time wisconsin basketball greats

Featured image Like the Florida Gators, the Wisconsin Badgers spent many decades in the college basketball wilderness. They won the NCAA championship in 1941, but from 1947 until 1994 they made zero appearances in the NCAA tournament. During the wilderness years, the Badgers were known at times for big men of limited effectiveness like Al (The Tree) Henry and the Hughes twins (Kim and Kerry). Henry was Philadelphia’s first-round pick in the »

Government lawyers set out to reorder college sports

Featured image A regional director of the National Labor Relations Board has ruled that scholarship football players at Northwestern University are “employees” and therefore should be allowed to organize a union. The United Steelworkers Union is backing the unionization effort at Northwestern. The ruling is the latest example of law’s imperial intrusion (this time by a bureaucrat, rather than a judge) into aspects of American life where it does not belong. College »

Shaka Smart schools coach K

Featured image Shaka Smart has become one of my favorite college basketball coaches. He certainly is one of the best, having taken the unfashionable Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Rams to four straight NCAA tournaments and to the Final Four in 2011. Recently, Smart and Duke’s legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski had an exchange about whether VCU’s conference, the Atlantic 10, deserves its six bids to this year’s NCAA tournament. Coach K started the »

Penn State trustee denounces decision to fire Paterno and resigns

Featured image Alvin Clemens, a member of the Penn State University Board of Trustees since 1995, has resigned from the Board, saying that the decision to fire Joe Paterno, for which he voted, was a “rush to injustice.” Clemens stated: We had no advance notice and little opportunity to discuss and consider the complex issues we faced. After 61 years of exemplary service, coach Paterno was given no chance to respond. That »

Isaianity

Featured image Remember “Linsanity,” the wave of publicity that resulted from a few weeks of outstanding performances by the NBA’s Jeremy Lin? It was fun while it lasted, and justified up to a point. After all, Lin was a Harvard man of Chinese descent who had gone undrafted and then kicked around for a time before embarking on his streak of excellence for the New York Knicks. Would Lin have been a »

FBI suspected that first Clay-Liston fight was fixed

Featured image Fifty years ago this week Cassius Clay “shocked the world” by defeating Sonny Liston to win the Heavyweight Championship. Clay was a 7-1 underdog. Sports Illustrated rated his victory the fourth-greatest sports moment of the 20th century. However, Thom Loverro of the Washington Times reports that the FBI suspected the fight may have been fixed by a Las Vegas figure tied to organized crime and to Liston. The FBI was »

No tears for Piers

Featured image Piers Morgan, whose dwindling audience has been put out of its misery, isn’t an “unbelievably stupid man,” as he once called Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America. He is, rather, an unbelievably rude and unpleasant man with a thoroughly mediocre mind. John Lott, who debated Morgan on gun control to the limited extent that the Brit permitted him to speak, deserves the last word on Morgan’s well-deserved sacking. Do »

Behind Boeheim’s blow-up

Featured image Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim was ejected for the first time in his 38-year coaching career for wildly and profanely protesting a key call in Saturday’s game against Duke. The call was a charge against Syracuse’s C.J. Fair with 10 seconds left. Had the call gone Syracuse’s way — a block instead of a charge — and Fair had made the ensuing free-throw, the score would have been tied. Instead, »